(4-29-20) Today Governor Mike DeWine ended any hope for the Class of 2020 to have a any form of a traditional graduation ceremony. Three suggestions were laid out by the Governor that came from the Ohio Department of Education.
The Governor approved three formats that schools could use to celebrate graduation.
- Virtual ceremonies: Ceremonies held using social media or a video chat app.
- Drive-in ceremonies:a drive-up or drive-thru graduation where graduates are given a certain time and place to drive up to receive their diplomas.
- Small gathering ceremonies (single person graduation): Families are called into the auditorium one-by-one (no more than 10 people total including the school administrators), the student walks across the stage, receives a diploma and walks out of the auditorium and back to the car. The next family enters. Attention should be paid to disinfecting surfaces (door handles, hand railings, etc.) that may be repeatedly touched. Also, strict parking management and regulation is needed to prevent congregating in parking lots and outdoor locations. This can be done by appointment only to ensure a smooth process for all.
The Ohio Department of Health has defined mass gatherings as a group of 10 people or more who do not live in the same household. The ban on mass gatherings includes any outdoor ceremonies even if social distancing is achieved.
Yesterday during his COVID 19 media conference it seemed the Republican Governor might have softened up on the issue. Today he clarified his thoughts on it and that ended any hope for students.
Local school administrators had sent numerous tweets asking the Governor to allow for graduation ceremonies using social distancing practices. Apparently the Governor did not think that would work.